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What are the side effects of a HIFU facial?

Estimated reading time 5 minutes

Side Effects Of A HIFU Facial

With the vast amount of facials available on the market, it can be hard to choose which one is the right option for you.

A high intensity focused ultrasound facial (HIFU) promises a non-invasive way to tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Also known as the ‘lunchtime facelift,’ the procedure itself is very quick, targeting specific areas of the face and neck that require some rejuvenation.

While ultrasound therapy is considered a safe method of facial tightening, no procedure is faultless and there are certain side effects to consider before getting a HIFU facial.

HIFU Facial Side Effects


Ultrasonic therapy is usually painless, with users reporting a slight tingling sensation or warmth on the skin. However, there can be a sensation of pin pricks and heat, this is only felt during the treatment and does not continue when the client leaves. Some clients do feel uncomfortable, although this passes as the treatment goes on and you see your amazing results at the end. An experienced aesthetic professional can administer a numbing cream or oral medication, if the pain becomes too intense, however, this is very rare and most clients do not require this.

Blotchy skin

This was the most common side effect reported by patients during a study researching the effectiveness of HIFU. Treated areas can become red and blotchy, particularly if your skin is sensitive and prone to redness. This side effect is not permanent, usually going away a few hours after the treatment. RT Aesthetics do provide creams to settle this at the end of treatment and always have some to take home if required.


Bloated and swollen skin are rare side effects of a HIFU facial, but because each person’s skin is different it’s possible for swelling to occur. The swelling usually disappears after a few days, then you can fully appreciate the age-rewinding benefits of your ultrasound facial. RT Aesthetics will ensure that your fully aware of all the benefits and side effects during your consultation.


The sound waves emitted during the HIFU procedure penetrate the very deepest layers of skin in order to eradicate even the most deep-set wrinkles. The technology is unique in its ability to penetrate the dermis and the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) layer, which is deeper than all other non-invasive treatments. SMAS is the same layer which is tightening during conventional surgery, however, unlike surgery, HIFU is more affordable and requires no time off work. As HIFU penetrate the very deepest layers, occasionally this can cause some minor damage which can lead to feelings of numbness.

The tingling sensation occurs most commonly in delicate areas, like the eyes and lips. Those who reported feelings of numbness that this symptom resolved itself within two weeks, without the need for medication or medical intervention. Please note that these side effects are rare and will be fully explained to you during your consultation. At RT Aesthetics client safety is our main priority, therefore we will ensure that clients suffer from as little side effects as possible, although like any cosmetic procedure there are side effects.


While rare, this is a side effect that is potentially permanent. This can cause the skin to change colour and become darker. This is a side effect that can be caused by the heat emitting ultrasound device that can reach temperatures of up to 45 – 65 degrees celsius. This side effect has not occurred at RT Aesthetics before, we ensure that every client has a patch test and ensure that everything is fully explained and understood during the consultation. Our aesthetic practitioners are trained to the highest standard and go through strict processes, after all, client safety is our main priority.

The absence of effect

Those who have undergone a HIFU treatment sometimes experience no visible benefit or adverse effects of the ultrasound treatment. While it’s great that their skin is not damaged, it’s not beneficial for those who hoped to have wrinkle free and tighter skin. In 10% of cases, users see no difference in the appearance of their skin and neck, as results vary from patient to patient, occasionally the collagen building on the inside that helps counter the effects of gravity does not always have a visible effect on the outside.

Every facial therapy is accompanied by some potentially adverse side effects. However, a HIFU facial treatment is an FDA approved method of facial tightening and defining. Permanent side effects are rare and minor side effects are relatively infrequent and tend to disappear within a week or two. If you are willing to risk the potential side effects of the treatment, then HIFU might be the ideal facial for you.


HIFU is the most powerful treatment available as a safe alternative to surgery. It can be used on the body to target fat & tighten up the skin or on the face as a facelift. HIFU targets deeper layers under the skin – the exact same layer targeted during surgery. HIFU causes micro injuries deep under the surface of the skin causing a mass increase of collagen production, for the body an even deeper level of HIFU is used which effectively breaks down the fat cells whilst also firming & tightening the skin.

Posted: 1st November, 2018
Written By: Ryan Towart
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